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SIDEWAYS


Year: 2004
USA: Fox Searchlight
UK: Twentieth Century Fox
Cast: Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh, M C Gainey, Marylouise Burke, Missy Doty, Patrick Gallagher, Alex Kalognomos, Joe Marinelli, Alysia Reiner
Director: Alexander Payne
Country: USA
USA & UK: 127 mins
USA Rated: R for language, some strong sexual content and nudity
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language and moderate sex
USA Release Date: 20 October 2004 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 28 January 2005


Synopsis

Alexander Payne's fourth feature film (following CITIZEN RUTH, ELECTION and ABOUT SCHMIDT) starts with two old friends setting off on a wine-tasting road trip - only to veer dizzily into a wry exploration of the vicissitudes of love and friendship, the damnable persistence of loneliness and dreams and the enduring war between Pinot and Cabernet.

The misadventures begin when Miles (Paul Giamatti), an un-recovered divorce and would-be novelist with a wine fixation, decides to gift old college buddy and washed-up actor Jack (Thomas Haden Church) with a celebratory trip to the vineyards of the Santa Ynez Valley the week before Jack's wedding. The two couldn't be an odder couple. Jack is an over-sexed charmer; Miles is a sad-sack worrier. Jack is looking for his "last taste of freedom"; Miles just wants to taste perfection in a bottle. Jack is fine with cheap Merlot; Miles pines for the elusive, perfect Pinot. Indeed, the only thing they seem to share in common is the same heady mix of failed ambitions and fading youth. And yet, as they make their way up the coast, Miles and Jack soon find themselves drowning in wine and women. Jack falls head-over-heels for a local wine pourer (Sandra Oh) and threatens to call off his nuptials. Miles begins his own romantic encounter with a wine-savvy waitress (Virginia Madsen). Both men careen dangerously and comically toward mid-life crises. Now, the wedding approaches and with it the certainty that Miles and Jack won't make it back to Los Angeles unscathed or unchanged - if they get back there at all.

The comically bittersweet plight of the everyday man lost in the muddle of modern life has become fertile territory for writer/director Alexander Payne in his three acclaimed feature films to date. From Jack Nicholson's suddenly widowed insurance executive in ABOUT SCHMIDT to Matthew Broderick's flummoxed school teacher meeting his match in a young student played by Reese Witherspoon in ELECTION to a pregnant Laura Dern who finds herself unexpectedly at the center of a fierce battle over abortion rights in CITIZEN RUTH, Payne's provocative films have probed with razor-sharp wit the manners and mores of contemporary Middle America. With SIDEWAYS, Payne takes up the story of two more hapless - yet ultimately hopeful - failures: Miles and Jack, whose trip to the Central Coast to drink wine, swing golf clubs and relax in the sun results in mad lust, frank betrayals, bodily harm - and an unexpected reconciliation with the ups, downs and sideways journeys that seem to make up the measure of a life. Through the story of Miles and Jack - a modern-day odd couple on a last hurrah bender - Payne focuses in on a different and not often explored landscape: the middle-aged man, who faces the future fueled only by his few remaining dreams, his lingering loves, and that rare perfect bottle of wine shared among friends.

DVD EXTRAS

Language: English
Subtitles: English hard of hearing
Original Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (16x9)
Sound Quality: English 5.1

DVD Special Features:
Audio commentaries by Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church
Behind the scenes featurette
8 deleted and extended scenes with introductions
3 Easter eggs - including gag reel
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